* First mobile phone masts ... now electricity cables /  Cancer Trends During the 20th Century by Hallberg and Johansson  (19/10/02)

Tramès per Klaus Rudolph (Citizens' Initiative Omega)

The Sun. October 11, 2002

First mobile phone masts ... now electricity cables

BYLINE: Paul Crosbie

BODY: Power lines linked to miscarriage

WOMEN who live near overhead power lines are up to five times more likely to suffer a miscarriage, a shock new study has claimed. It also showed that people living close to pylons and electricity cables had increased levels of depression, insomnia, headaches and eating problems. Campaigners say the disturbing results further support what they have always feared -that these high-voltage lines cause illnesses.

In the past they have claimed that electromagnetic fields (EMF) from overhead lines are responsible for cancer and leukaemia clusters. The latest health scare follows The Sun's exclusive revelations this week about mobile phone transmitters hidden in petrol station price signs and antennas fixed to walls at McDonald's restaurants. These emit the same type of EMF as the power lines.

The latest research studied people living within 25 metres of a power line and compared them with others in the same area outside the 25-metre boundary. It found that more than one in seven pregnant women with homes near cables had miscarried, compared to one in 29 living further away.

Of men and women living close to electricity lines, 27 per cent said they had suffered from depression compared to 13 per cent further away. Sixty-three per cent of those within 25 metres reported regular headaches compared to 39 per cent of those outside that distance. Insomnia and dietary problems were reported to be around 50 per cent higher near the power lines.

The results came from the first detailed look at the health of those living near a high voltage supply in the UK for 20 years. Up to 9,000 miles of high-voltage cables crisscross England and Wales. They run directly over or next to around 25,000 homes. Some 460,000 people live within 100 metres of them and 750,000 people are just 200 metres away.
In the study, questionnaires were completed by more than 500 residents in Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent following worries by GPs over high levels of depression and suicides in the area. A 132,000-volt cable passes over the town linking two electricity supply stations.

Denis Henshaw, professor of physics at Bristol University, who helped with the survey, said: "This research confirms what we have seen in larger studies carried out over 20 years ago, particularly on depression. "Increased risks of childhood leukaemia have already been shown to be linked to exposure and I believe many other illnesses among
adults are caused by high-voltage power lines."

Prof Henshaw believes an explanation for increased health problems comes from people breathing in electrically-charged molecules which attract pollutants in the air. These then become stuck to the lungs.

Maureen Asbury, who has been leading a campaign against power lines in Trentham, said: "Everyone in this community is very worried about the effects of living so close to the overhead lines."

The study comes as the Californian Department of Health in the United States prepares to publish the strongest warnings to date on the potential risks of exposure to electromagnetic fields following a Pounds 5 million research programme. The report will reveal an increased risk of miscarriage by between five and ten per cent. US scientists also
found higher risks of childhood and adult leukaemia, brain cancer and a high incidence of suicides.

Britain's National Radiological Protection Board last year reported that children exposed to power lines had double the chance of getting leukaemia. The only previous probe into general health among Britons living near power lines was carried out by Stephen Perry, a former West Midlands GP, in 1981. His research suggested an effect on the body's
immune system.

This latest work will increase the pressure on the Government to ban the building of new homes within 140 metres of high-voltage overhead lines. Dr John Swanson, scientific adviser to the Electricity Association - which represents British generators and suppliers -said: "The International Agency for Research on Cancer reported last year that
there is the possibility of a risk of a link to childhood cancer. "Over the years there have been studies on miscarriages and power lines. So far I would say the evidence on miscarriages is fairly weak."

But lawyers representing campaigners are preparing to bring cases against power firms.


MUM-OF-TWO Andrea Holt blames the high-voltage power line at the front of her family home for the loss of one baby and for her almost miscarrying another. Andrea, 35, and her printer husband Garry bought their house in Trentham six years ago. At the time they were unconcerned by the power line 15 metres from their garden and 20 metres from their bedroom and lounge. It was only after Andrea suffered a miscarriage in March 1999 that they began to fear the buzzing cables could have been to blame. Former hair salon owner Andrea said: "I went in for a three-month scan and the doctors told me the baby had died at eight weeks. "I also had a scare with my son Jay, who is now two. I began to lose blood and went to hospital. Thankfully he was okay. "Now that I've read up on the evidence about power lines I think it's a strong possibility that they caused my miscarriage.

"There are many others living here who have suffered miscarriages. When I began to study the potential risks I was shocked that we are exposed to such high voltage." Andrea, who also has a five-year-old daughter, added: "The companies should put the lines underground. It might be expensive but what price do you put on a child's life?"


CARE worker Jean Fradley and her husband Keith were distraught when she miscarried four months into her first pregnancy. Having lived in Trentham since the age of six, she has always been aware of high levels of suicide and depression in the area. The 52-year-old now regrets moving into the semi-detached house where the high voltage lines pass directly above her back garden. Jean, who has daughters of 27 and 29, said: "I was absolutely devastated when I lost the baby in 1972. It's one of those things you don't think will happen to you. "It's only in recent years that we've learned about the risk of power lines. "Now we've read all about links with cancer, leukaemia and miscarriages. We
just don't know what effect it's having on us. It's always there in the back of your mind as a worry. "People will say that we should move away if we're worried. But I think if anything should move it's the power line, not the people." Jean added: "So many people around here fall ill and the suspicion is that it is the power lines that are the cause. "The
only solution is to put the cables underground. I wouldn't recommend living here to anyone, there are so many health problems."

Informant: Roy Beavers forwarded by Don Maisch

Cancer Trends During the 20th Century by Hallberg and Johansson

"Skin melanoma is a cancer that started to explode in 1955 (see Figure 3).  It is interesting to note that a similar steep increase in melanoma mortality  was  also  reported  from  Queensland,  Australia,  when comparing 1951-1959 with 1964-1967.10  This increase was related to the introduction of high power TV broadcasting transmitters. Skin melanoma has also been associated with the expansion of broadcasting networks in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and USA.11"  . ."Finally,  we  looked  at  all  cancer  deaths  reported  since  1912 and plotted the result in Figure 24.  Trend-breaks are quite visible in 1920, 1955, 1970 and in 1979. In 1920 we got MW radio, in 1955 we got FM radio and TV1, in 1969-70 we got TV2 and colour TV and in 1978 several of the old AM broadcasting transmitters were disrupted, all according to ref. 12.".

"3. Since the cancer mortality trend-breaks coincide with expansion or disruption of public broadcasting in Sweden, studies regarding the influence from electromagnetic fields on cancer and asthma development cannot be further delayed."
"5. Since closing down of public radio transmitters seems to have a strong  effect  in  reducing  cancer  mortality,  public  air  radio transmission should be avoided."

Informant: Volker Hartenstein, Member of the Bavarian Parliament; 

Study see attached: *  Hallberg, Johansson. Cancer Trends During the 20th Century (Format pdf. 246 kb.)

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